Piastri chooses 81 as his race number


Oscar Piastri has chosen 81 as his F1 race number, while admitting that when he lines up on the grid for in Bahrain next season he is taking nothing for granted, aware that what he achieved previously will count for nothing.

"Basically, when I did my first race, I had to pick a number and the car shop I went to only had number ones in stock," he tells the Australian Grand Prix' In The Fast Lane podcast.

"It had to be a one or two-digit number," he continues. "I couldn't be number one for obvious reasons, so I was actually number 11 for my first couple of races.

"We entered, I think it was the Victorian state titles, and somebody had already entered as number 11, so I don't know what inspired me to pick 81, but I changed the first one for a number eight and it stuck ever since."

With the wrangle over his contract settled, the Australian can focus on the challenge that lies ahead.

"It was obviously a pretty stressful time with the CRB hearing," he admits. "It's something I've been working towards since I started racing way back when, I think it was about 12... 11 years ago. So to finally know what my future holds, firstly, and secondly, that it would be in F1, that was, firstly a relief and a very, very happy moment."

Much is expected of the young Australian, not least because of his meteoric and impressive rise through the ranks. However, aware that many before him have failed to successfully negotiate that final step, Piastri is taking nothing for granted, admitting that what he achieved previously will count for nothing.

"It's basically the start of the real journey," he admits. "This is the main part that I wanted to achieve, becoming a professional. When I first started, I wanted to be a professional in any kind of motorsport and just race cars for a living. But to be able to do that in F1, I think it's pretty hard to find a better day job than that.

"I'm super excited and very much looking forward to the future because I want to make sure that this is my job for a while."

Referring to his success in F3 and F2, he adds: "I think you can look at it in two ways a little bit. Firstly, I think the success that I've had previously has led to the opportunity in F1, so I think that's one way of looking at it. But at the same time, once you start racing in F1, what you've done previously to that gets forgotten about very quickly. Once you get into F1, it's very much about how well you can do in F1 rather than what you've been able to accomplish previously.

"So I'm glad that I've got those championships under my belt and ultimately they've provided me with this opportunity to race in F1. It's very much the start of a new journey now and in some way, starting from zero again. But I think I can take confidence from my junior categories, and the championships in the junior categories as well, and hopefully use those to look back on with some confidence and feel like deserve to be here."

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Published: 27/09/2022
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